A Russian journalist arrested in Iran was on Monday detained due to a visa violation, an Iranian government spokesman said, rejecting reports that the woman was accused of espionage.
The spokesman, Ali Rabiei, said it had nothing to do with espionage, adding that the case is being investigated and will soon be cleared.
Reports about the arrest of journalist Yulia Yuzik surfaced on Instagram sometime in September.
Earlier, the Russian embassy in Tehran had expressed the suspicion that Yuzik had been taken into custody under suspicion of espionage. According to her mother, Julia was accused of working for Israeli secret services.
However, the Iranian Ambassador, Mehdi Sanaei, was asked by the Russian Foreign Ministry to clarify the situation. Sanaei promised that the journalist would be released soon after clarifying some questions.
In Iran, foreigners who violate visa rules are normally expelled from the country but are not arrested or even detained for a longer period, unless there is suspicion of illegal activities such as espionage.
However, it is also illegal for journalists without a press visa to enter the country on a tourist visa and to work as journalists without the knowledge of the press office.
The Iranian security authorities usually react quite strongly to this.